To get involved in Troop 61, call Scoutmaster Rod Zinn at 785-691-7992.
With an end-of-the-year deadline looming, Boy Scout Troop 61 was in danger of losing its charter with the national organization. The troop, based out of St. Luke’s AME Church at Ninth and New York streets, had dwindled to only one member by October, far short of the six required to recharter each year.
Enter Rod Zinn, formerly in leadership at Troop 52 at First United Methodist Church. Zinn, who is known for rebuilding troops, transferred to Troop 61, the only troop in Lawrence now east of Iowa Street. Since he became the Scoutmaster and brought a few older Boy Scouts with him, Troop 61 has swelled to 14 members. Zinn isn’t stopping there, though.
“There are a lot of youth that need Scouting over there,” Zinn said.
Troop 61 is designated as an outreach troop, which means leaders will work with Scouts who might not be able to afford the normal rates for Boy Scouts. Zinn, who has been active in Scouts for 35 years and counting, wants to bring the Boy Scout opportunity to boys who might have nowhere else to turn.
“They brighten up, and that’s exactly why I’m here,” he said.
Verdell Taylor, pastor at St. Luke’s AME church, knows the value in having Scouting experience, participating in it himself from ages 11 to 17.
“Scouting has always been important to me in my life, and I know what it does for young men,” Taylor said.
Taylor said the revitalized troop will be good for both the church and east Lawrence, and is pleased with how cohesive the troop already seems.
“I just see so much potential for growth,” he said.